When the Gospel Becomes Good News

when the Gospel become Good News

Daily Spirit & Word: 787: When The Gospel Becomes Good News.

The Grinding Power of Sin.

Slaves Set Free:

Romans 6:19-22 (NIV)
19  I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.
20  When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.
21  What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!
22  But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

Good morning my friends, it was a good night of witnessing on the Streets of West Norwood last night. We gave out a few tracts, but after just a couple of minutes were were into a wonderful Gospel conversation with a lovely young couple from Madeira (Portugal). Last night I teamed up with Judy (Ben’s wife) and we just got chatting by given the couple a Million Pound Note (One of our little Gospel Tracts). I asked the young man, “If it was real, what would you do with it?” He answered, “I’d return to Portugal”. And the woman said, “I’d return to Madeira”. I said, “WOW, that’s really interesting, why Madeira?” They said, “Life in Madeira compared to London is like heaven”. I said, “Here’s what we’re about tonight, do you believe in Heaven?” They both said, “Not really, we don’t think about Heaven as a place”… I said, “Do you believe in God?” They answered “No, not really”… I was intrigued and asked a few more questions about their beliefs. It turns out, they both had to attend religious education in Madeira until they were twelve, that was the tradition in Madeira. They attended church, but as soon as they were twelve years old they were free from the burdens of religious observance.

So I opened up the ‘Spiritual’ conversation again with, “Madeira is reputed to have some of the oldest people on the planet, some people live to well into their hundreds.” The woman, Tatiana, knew a woman who’d died at 119 years old. I continued, “If you live to 120 years, then you die, if Heaven is real, where will you go? Heaven or Hell?” They both stated, “Well I’m a good person, so if heaven is real, I’ll definitely go there”. It’s amazing, because we know from experience that most people believe what Tatiana and Pedro do, that ‘good people’ go to heaven and bad people go to hell. Also, that most people believe they are the good ones, and if Heaven is real they will be good enough.

I asked, “We’ve got a little test that shows you immediately if you’d be good enough for Heaven” I gave them both one of our Ten Commandment Coins. They took it and said, “WOW this is nice”… I said, “You can keep it, it’s yours. Now the Ten Commandments are like a mirror, they show a person the condition of their soul on the inside.” They both remembered the Ten Commandments from their childhood teachings. I asked both of them, “The Commandments say, ‘Don’t tell lies’, Have you ever told a lie?” They both admitted readily that they’d told lies. We got into a conversation about lying, and agreed that almost everybody has told at least one lie, even me and Judy 🙂 But they didn’t see the seriousness of lying. I asked, “How many lies do I have to tell to become a Liar?” They said, “Just one”. “That’s right” I said, “It only takes one lie to make a person a liar, but did you know that just one lie will keep you out of heaven for all eternity?” They said, “Then nobody is going to be in Heaven”… (Isn’t that sobering? The fact that nobody will go to heaven if they died in their sins?”)

Here’s the next one; “Have you ever stolen anything?” They both said, “When we were kids”, but then went onto admit they’d also taken things that didn’t belong to them as adults. Pedro had nicked from his mother’s purse. Tatiana had stolen music on the internet. However, neither of them saw the seriousness of their crime before God, yet 🙂  I said, “Are you aware the Bible teaches that no thief can enter into the Kingdom of God?”

Here’s the next one; “Pedro and Tatiana, you’ve both been really honest so far, but have you always honoured your mum and dad?” Family honour is very important in Portugal, they both said, “We’d never dishonour our mum and dad, but I took them back over the commands they’d already admitted and said, “Stealing and lying to your mum and dad, that’s dishonourable don’t you think?” They both nodded in shame. But the Bible teaches that when we dishonour our mum and dad, we’re cut off from the Kingdom forever.

So I asked, “That’s just three of the commandments, if God were to Judge you by that standard, would you go to Heaven or Hell?” They said, “Hell”… Then we got into a conversation about the after-life again and what they really believed. I brought it back after a few minutes, “but suppose it is real, Heaven and Hell, wouldn’t you want to make sure you’d be on your way to Heaven? You see Pedro and Tatiana, God doesn’t want to send a single soul to Hell forever, He did something 2000 years ago to give people the chance of going to Heaven, do you know what that was?”. They didn’t know, so I asked, “Have you heard about Jesus?” They both clicked, “Jesus was God come down to Earth to show us how to live a good life”… Then I asked, “How did Jesus die?” It was like turning a light on in a dark room. Pedro and Tatiana said, “He died for our sins”… “It’s not enough to know that Jesus died for sins” I explained, “To get forgiven and cleansed from our sins so that we’ll be fit for heaven, we’ll need to do something, do you know what that is?” They both said, “Repent and ask for forgiveness”… I said, “Yes that’s right, but there’s more. Everyone need to believe and trust in Jesus Christ, receive Him as Lord (Boss of their life), and ask for forgiveness, trusting that Jesus died for their own sins. Does that make sense to you?”

I asked them, (they both work in the Catering industry), if you took a delivery of chicken and one piece of chicken was rotten, would you put it in the fridge beside the good chicken?” They both said, “No, we’d throw it out,” I asked, “Why? Why would you throw out that rotten piece of chicken?” They said, “Because it would contaminate the rest of the chicken”. I explained, “That’s exactly why God will not let anyone who dies in their sins; lying, stealing etc into His Holy Heaven, because our sins would contaminate His Holy Heaven”… They both said, “Then nobody is going to Heaven”… I said, “That’s right, unless they repent and turn in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for their sins on the Cross and receive Him as their Lord and Saviour”…

PRAYER:

You know my friends, Pedro and Tatiana both thanked us last night. We encouraged them to read the Bible and see if what we were telling them was the truth. We asked them to come to church. We said we’d be prepared to meet-up with them again and pray and read the Bible over a coffee. But I encouraged them, “Don’t leave it too long before you turn to Jesus”… They walked away chatting together.

It’s not enough to just proclaim the Gospel, we’ve got to try and help people to understand it, that takes time, love, care, gentleness, humour, but above all boldness to bring the conversation back to the most important topic, their eternal destiny. I thank the Lord for Pedro and Tatiana, will you pray for them, that they’ll both come to the point of receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour? We had a good laugh, but always got back to the seriousness of their spiritual condition. It’s amazing, but once people understand the Gospel, they are either thankful or disturbed. Pedro and Tatiana had never heard the Gospel explained or why Jesus died on the Cross like that before. Can you see the desperate need there is, to take time with folks and love them enough to share Jesus’ message of Good News?

Now, their God given Conscience will go to work, it will do it’s job of showing them their sins again (How? Because the Law of God brings light to the soul, it awakens the Conscience ), the Holy Spirit will use the Gospel to draw them to faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

WHY USE THE TEN COMMANDMENTS?

Some people ask us, “Why don’t you just talk about the love of God and Grace? Why do you keep going on about the Commandments?” Well, if I was to just tell someone they are a sinner without explaining why, they’d be offended. It’s offensive to just say, “We’ve all sinned and fall short of the glory of God” because most people don’t think they have, most people don’t know the seriousness of their sins. We’ve found that about 90% of people think they a good enough for Heaven. So we need to show a person just how serious sin is, before they’ll even consider listening to the Good News. The good news only makes sense when we see the seriousness of our condition without a Saviour.

Here’s the reason why we use the LAW (Ten Commandments) when sharing the Gospel with folks: It awakens the Conscience: “we become conscious of sin”… In other words, we see the seriousness of our sinful condition by opening up God’s law.

Romans 3:19-20 (NIV)
19  Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20  Therefore no-one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

Charles Spurgeon said: Concerning The Law (Ten Commandments).

  1. The first use of the law is to manifest to man his guilt.

When God intends to save a man, the first thing he does with him is to send the law to him, to show him how guilty, how vile, how ruined he is, and in how dangerous a position. You see that man lying there on the edge of the precipice; he is sound asleep, and just on the perilous verge of the cliff. One single movement, and he will roll over and be broken in pieces on the jagged rocks beneath, and nothing more shall be heard of him. How is he to be saved? What shall be done for him—what shall be done! It is our position; we, too, are lying on the brink of ruin, but we are insensible of it. God, when he begins to save us from such an imminent danger, sendeth his law, which, with a stout kick, rouses us up, makes us open our eyes, we look down on our terrible danger, discover our miseries, and then it is we are in a right position to cry out for salvation, and our salvation comes to us. The law acts with man as the physician does when he takes the film from the eye of the blind. Self-righteous men are blind men, though they think themselves good and excellent. The law takes that film away, and lets them discover how vile they are, and how utterly ruined and condemned if they are to abide under the sentence of the law.

Instead, however, of treating this doctrinally, I shall treat it practically, and come home to each of your consciences. My, hearer, does not the law of God convince you of sin this morning? Under the hand of God’s Spirit does it not make you feel that you have been guilty, that you deserve to be lost, that you have incurred the fierce anger of God? Look ye here, have ye not broken these ten commandments; even in the letter have ye not broken them? Who is there among you who hath always honored his father and mother? Who is there among us who hath always spoken the truth? Have we not sometimes borne false witness against our neighbor? Is there one person here who has not made unto himself another God, and loved himself, or his business, or his friends, more than he has Jehovah, the God of the whole earth? Which of you hath not coveted your neighbour’s house, or his man-servant, or his ox, or his ass? We are all guilty with regard to every letter of the law; we have all of us transgressed the commandments. And if we really understood these commandments, and felt that they condemned us, they would have this useful influence on us of showing us our danger, and so of leading us to fly to Christ. But, my hearers, does not this law condemn you, because even if you should say you have not broken the letter of it, yet you have violated the spirit of it. What, though you have never killed, yet we are told, he that is angry with his brother is a murderer. As a negro said once, “Sir, I thought me no kill—me innocent there; but when I heard that he that hateth his brother is a murderer, then me cry guilty, for me have killed twenty men before breakfast very often, for I have been angry with many of them very often.” This law does not only mean what it says in words, but it has deep things hidden in its bowels. It says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” but it means, as Jesus has it, “He that looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” It says, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain,” it meaneth that we should reverence God in every place, and have his fear before our eyes, and should always pay respect unto his ordinances and evermore walk in his fear and love. Ay, my brethren, surely there is not one here so fool-hardy in self-righteousness as to say, “I am innocent.” The spirit of the law condemns us. And this is its useful property; it humbles us, makes us know we are guilty, and so are we led to receive the Saviour.

http://www.romans45.org/spurgeon/sermons/0128.htm

We saw that this is exactly right, it happened last night, when we opened up the law with Pedro and Tatiana, they soon stopped trying to justify themselves and wanted to know what they could do to be saved from the consequences of the law.

The Grinding Power Of Sin: Samson was in PRISON:

Judges 16:20-22 (NIV)
20  Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had left him.
21  Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding in the prison.
22  But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.

He was blinded, bound and made to grind the corn for God’s enemies.

That’s the condition of everyone who lives with sin in their life, until they are set free by the LORD Jesus Christ. Sin blinds, it binds and it makes us grind. Life is worth living to the full, but life like Samson’s is; darkness, slavery and drudgery. Until we’re set free by the LORD Jesus Christ.

The prison is a place of blinding, binding and grinding!

Grinding was considered to be woman’s work, this added to Samson’s humiliation.

Here is the point; Samson was born to be a liberator. He was raised up by God to lead the people of God out of bondage. He was given power so that he might use his energy for the glory of the Lord. But, here is the mighty judge of Israel, blinded, bound and grinding corn for the enemies of God. (Note: That is the power of sin! It will rob you of your power and leave you with nothing with which to serve God. There will be no time, no energy and no interest in the things of God. Your life will be dominated by the grinding power of sin.)

My friends, share the Gospel with the folks you love.

Get full of God’s love and you’ll want to set others free.

Their condition, as Charles Spurgeon has so eloquently put it, is perilous. They are on the cliff-edge, in danger of God’s judgement and hell. If anyone dies in their sins, they’ll receive God’s wrath against sin. Let’s set as many free by going, by showing, by loving them into God’s Kingdom family. Amen!

Be blessed today and stay close to Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Don.

 

You can read or listen to Hell’s Best Kept Secret by Ray Comfort.

or even watch it below:

 

Are You Living Like A Christian?

moral filthiness, getting rid

Daily Spirit & Word; 650:

Does Your Conversion Affect Your Conduct?

Are You Living Like A Christian?

Good morning my friends, we’re all getting ready for Christmas. I’ve got many different things to do, it’s busy, but I love this time of the year. Thinking about the birth of my Lord Jesus. However, you are, like me, going to be inundated with invitations from the world and the flesh, how are you going to respond?

What a brilliant evening we had with a brother who was struggling to make certain his calling in Christ. Last night as we were doing some training for Street Evangelism, we were joined by a brother who was struggling with fears of all kinds. So we stopped what we were doing and spent some time going over the GOSPEL and the call of the Gospel. He had difficulty knowing how to respond.

However, what became clear was, that though he had previously made “A Profession of Faith”, from his own lips he declared, “Nothing has happened”, “I’m just the same”. What he went onto clarify was that he was still struggling with the same old things, and he didn’t know if he’d really come and trusted Christ. He tried attending worship (sporadically) and praying and reading his Bible, but there was no inward inclination to change his attitude or habits.

Was he saved? Was he a Christian who’d been filled with God’s Spirit? It soon became clear he wasn’t, but last night he finally trusted in Jesus death upon the Cross for his sins and received Him as Lord. Having grasped the full meaning of the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Does Your Conversion Affect Your Conduct?

2 Corinthians 7:1 “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

What promises is the verse referring to?

We must remember that when Paul originally wrote 2nd Corinthians it didn’t have chapter or verse divisions, it was a letter. So looking back in the letter we’ll see “these promises” he’s referring to.

He is of course referring to;  2 Corinthians 6:16-18

16  What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
17  “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”
18  “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

When we receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour: We are born of the Spirit, he takes up residence within our bodies and we become the Temple of the Living God. He’s in us, we are Holy. Verse 18 reveals God’s promise to “be a Father to you”. We are God’s children, His sons and daughters, when we receive Jesus Christ. That’s God’s awesome promise. Also declared in John 1:12-13.

So with these great promises in place in your heart, God is encouraging you to live a moral life: “let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

How can you cleanse yourself? How can we ‘perfect’ holiness?

Christians are often attacked in the media and everyday-life as hypocrites: i.e. “their conduct doesn’t match their profession” and “They say they are ‘Christians’, but they don’t live like Christians should.” No doubt we ALL fail to fully live up to the high calling of purity and holiness of life, but the failure is not CHRISTIANITY or our LORD Jesus Christ, but the fault is with us. It’s because we’re not making use of everything the Lord has provided for our moral conduct in the world: His power and His presence that will enable us to overcome the flesh, the world and the devil.

To cleanse ourselves and to perfect holiness, we need a healthy fear God’s holiness. We don’t fear His person, because He is our Father and we are joint heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ, as God’s children we too are dearly loved, but God is still completely holy and cannot tolerate sin. Our fellowship with Him is broken when we are contaminated and still living in sin (1 John 1:5-10).

I really love the old KJV of the Bible, because it doesn’t mince it’s word choice here, it calls our deliberate dabbling and playing with the disgusting things of this world; “filthiness“.

2 Corinthians 7:1 (KJV) “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

The things the people of the world accept as OK are filthy in God’s eyes:

Think about movies, videos, games, adverts on TV, game-shows, TV soaps, magazines and newspapers etc, they are all filled with filthy rubbish that will contaminate the pure mind of the follower of Jesus. Their pages and programs are choc-a-block with sexual scenes, filthy language and blasphemy. Every night on TV you’ll hear people taking the Lord Jesus holy name and using it as a swear word or an expletive. They use Jesus glorious Name as a profane or obscene expression, usually of surprise or anger. We watched a police enforcement program the other day. People caught by the Police were rude, very rude, disgusting use of language to a person in authority. On the News last night, the Police were trying to control the crowds of shoppers in Oxford Street, their language and conduct was appalling towards each other and to the Police. Pushing, shoving, shouting, swearing and queue jumping. Some poor old lady was in tears because she just couldn’t get on a bus, because young people kept jumping in front of her. They’d all been Christmas Shopping.

God wants His children to be pure and holy like He is, because He’s living in us.

That is why God doesn’t want you to defile the Temple of the Living God: your body.

Flesh & Spirit:

How can we ‘purify’ ourselves.

The truth is we can’t, we can’t because only the blood of Jesus can wash away sin. However, we can enlist His Holy help. Jesus Christ is in you, the Holy Spirit is in you, God the Father is in you. Your body is God’s dwelling place, so LIVE as Jesus would. Live as Jesus did, a pure and holy life.

When you fail, you’ll know it.

Your Spirit within you will not be at ease with SIN or moral filthiness.

If you ever get to the point in your ‘Christian’ walk, where you can sin and it doesn’t bother you, you are either UNSAVED in the first place or you’ve been given over to your heart’s desires. You’ll need to REPENT and trust Jesus Christ and receive His Holy Spirit. Confess your weaknesses: to Jesus, to each other. Tell the Lord about how you’ve grown to love sin, how you’ve become enamoured and longing for the dog’s vomit again. How you’ve become like a pig, wallowing in the filthy mud and muck of the world. Ask Him to take away the LOVE of sinning. Pray that He’ll really become for you, the Alpha and the Omega of your daily walk, the first and last of your affections.

Question: Does your conversion match your conduct? Are you a professing Christian who’s living a double life? Publicly attending worship, but secretly thoroughly embedded in the world?

In truth, we’ve all got a tendency towards the flesh and gratifying it’s desires. It’s a daily battle and with the LORD’S help, presence and power you are going to win. You will need to remain connected: with Jesus, with fellowship with brothers and sisters in the faith. You’ll need to keep being filled afresh with God the Holy Spirit. You’ll need to constantly confess and repent and return; sometimes many times a day. However, be assured that it will become a JOY to be Holy as Jesus is Holy. He’ll give you new desires in your heart. You’ll be loving, joyful, kind, gentle, patient, goodness will be evident to all, you’ll be faithful and self-controlled. Get filled-up with God’s Spirit right now.

2 Corinthians 7:1 “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

  • Your body is a Temple of God’s presence.
  • You are a child of God, He is your Father.
  • He’s with you forever.

BE STILL: Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:1-11).

Have an AWESOME DAY of Holiness with Jesus.

Don.

The Christian’s Call To Holiness Today

The Christians's Call To Holiness

Daily Spirit & Word: 551: The Christian’s Holiness Today.

“There will come a time when the love of most will grow cold.”

Good morning my friends, I’m so sad that I couldn’t post yesterday. However, I’m re-assured by some of you who’ve been telling me that’s it’s given you a chance to catch-up on some of my writings. I know it’s HARD to follow, when someone writes as I do, sooooooo much 🙂 You’ll find countless, hundreds of other daily devotionals that are much shorter, more pithy and pointed. You’ll get a truth from them that will sustain you for a day or a whole week. Praise the LORD for them! I also read some of them too. However, I’m not called by the LORD to be short or concise. Sometimes, I’ll be short, but mostly, I just share what the LORD has put upon my heart to share.

 Matthew 24:9-14
9   “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.
10  At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,
11  and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.
12  Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,
13  but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
14  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

THE LOVE OF MOST WILL GROW COLD

Today, the Lord Jesus is speaking to me (personally) about Holiness. How He called me and every Christian to be Holy. Now holiness is NOT easy, especially as we live in a fallen world, where the love of most for the things of God has gone completely cold, even amongst the churches. It seems to me that the world and the church have fallen away from the high calling of Jesus Christ in the new testament to be a holy people. However, there are a few faithful left, but the world and the worldly church hate them, because we stand out like a sore thumb. It’s evident to the world today who the true followers of Jesus Christ are; because they will not go along with the ways of the world, they love the Lord and His Word too much for that. But in doing so, in being committed to living according to Jesus teachings, they’ve become targets. Nobody likes to be singled out or viewed as different or odd, yet that’s exactly what Jesus warned His own disciples they would become or be to the world and the worldly church.

FOR INSTANCE: Reverend Melvin Tinker:

He is a Minister in the province of York who protested about the blessing and prayers offered by the staff of York Minster for the ‘Gay Pride Parade’. His public protest hit the headlines and even reached Parliament. He was ridiculed on the BBC and by the Prime Minister, because he dared to stand up for God’s standards revealed in the Bible about morality. The world really does hate the saints when we declare boldly God’s standards of holiness and life.

The LOVE (Holiness, Devotion, Dedication and Faithfulness) of MOST will grow cold.

If Jesus was physically upon the earth today, I’m convinced that He would shout loudly and say, “The End IS Near: Repent and turn to God and walk in Holiness: Judgement is imminent”.

His call has always included a sacrifice from those who respond; the sacrifice for sins is finished with in His own blood upon the Cross, but the sacrifice He expects in return is death to self (selfishness, self-determination, self-will). Jesus’ call is for ALL His followers (Disciples) is to BE Holy. Romans 12:1 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”

Holiness of LIFE:

It’s living a separated life. That’s what HOLY means:

The word translated ‘Holy’ in the Greek of the New Testament is ‘Hagios’ (Scottish Christians love that, because it reminds them of their favourite food ‘Haggis’).

Hagios: Is translated in three main ways:

  • Holy: 161 times.
    Saints: 61 times.
    Holy One: 4 times.
    Miscellaneous translations 3
  • [Total Count: 229] Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.

The Temple Was Holy: (Because of God’s presence in God’s Holy Place).
The Jewish People Were Holy: (Because He made them Holy by selecting them out from among all the people on Earth).
The Christian Is Called To Be Holy: (Because God the Holy Spirit lives in the Believer: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
The Christian Is NOW Part of God’s Holy Called-Out People:

1 Peter 2:9-12 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
10  Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
11  Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.
12  Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”

God’s calling His Church and Jesus calling His Followers (Disciples) to BE HOLY.

William Barclay said; “In the first days of Christianity there was a glory and a splendour, but now Christianity had become a thing of habit, “traditional, half-hearted, nominal.” Barclay’s Daily Study Bible (NT).

William Barclay was not writing about the state of the church today, but the state of the church by the end of the first century. He was commenting upon the state of affairs that the Apostle John was writing to address at the end of his life in his first Epistle ‘1 John’. A ‘nominal’ Christian is one who loves being religious, but his ‘religion’ doesn’t affect his behaviour in the world. He lives like everyone else in society. He’s become a false-convert that Jesus warned about in the Parables; someone who has a form of holiness, but doesn’t live according to his professed belief. John said that a person like that, who “Claims to walk in the light, but continues to sin, cannot have fellowship with God” i.e. He cannot really be converted, the Holy Spirit has never done His work of conversion upon that person’s heart.

What is it that makes many half-hearted, false-believers fall away from their half-hearted ‘nominal’ form of Christianity? Jesus tells us clearly; “Because of the increase of wickedness…” Matthew 24:12. Be sure of this, no true believer will ever fall away from Jesus Christ, only those who were false-converts to begin with.

Romans 8:35-39
35  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
36  As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
38  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

NOTHING can or will be able to separate the true follower of the Lord Jesus Christ for their Master: NOTHING.

However, there will be a pull, a tugging of the heart-strings and a war of the Saints: Because nobody likes to live at odds with those around them. Compromise and half-hearted responses to worldly ways (just like York Minster’s response to the Gay Pride Parade) will be the condition of MOST, but not all. There will always be few who’ll remain faithful to the Lord, His Word and His Teachings until He returns.

His call to you and me is “BE HOLY”.

But the Christians’ response, because our nature has been transformed by the Holy Spirit, is to welcome holiness as a way of life, it’s not a burden, it’s a strong inward desire to live in accordance to the will of God. Our Spirit, will and desires are in line with His, we want to be walking as Jesus walked. We are daily being transformed into the likeness and character of the Lord Jesus Christ. We’re going to become; more loving, good, pure, holy, happy, joy-filled, peaceful, righteous, forgiving, patient, kind, generous, giving, gentle and self-controlled. What a wonderful full and abundant life we’ve been called to and set-apart for, but it’s not going to be EASY as the world moves further and further away from God’s revealed standards of holiness.

Holiness is NOT a lifestyle choice for Christians, it’s a loving response to His Call upon our lives.

Don’t be surprised that the world hates you because of what you believe and the way that you want to live for Jesus, because Jesus warned us all in advance that this is what it’s going to be like just before He comes back again. There will be an increase of wickedness (sinfulness) in the last days. That’s obvious is we watch the News for just a few moments. However, you, dear brothers and sisters, be strong and of good courage as you live in the last-days.

Praise the LORD because, despite it all, we can be FULL OF THE JOY OF THE LORD.

Be Holy, be ready, be full of the JOY of the Lord.

Don.